Manali girl be­comes first wo­man taxi driver in Hi­machal Pradesh

The Northlines - - NATION -

Shimla:

With a dream to be­come an army of­fi­cer, 20-year-old Manali girl Rav­ina Thakur, de­fy­ing gen­der stereo­types, took up taxi driv­ing to sus­tain her fam­ily’s liveli­hood, while also be­com­ing the first women taxi driver in Hi­machal Pradesh.

Rav­ina ob­tained her com­mer­cial driv­ing li­cense this year, three years af­ter she got trained. Her fa­ther, who too was a taxi driver and Rav­ina’s first driv­ing trainer, died three years ago. Af­ter his death, the taxi was ly­ing un­used at their home.

“I want to join the army and af­ter com­plet­ing my grad­u­a­tion, will de­vote all ef­forts in it,” she said, adding, “Right now my fam­ily needs me and I am happy to sup­port them.” Rav­ina lives with her mother and two younger sib­lings in Manali. “I am en­joy­ing my job and right now, I have no other source to sus­tain our liveli­hood,” she said. The fam­ily orig­i­nally hails from Jogin­der­na­gar.

Her mother Shanta Devi had a tea stall in Manali that was de­mol­ished in four-lan­ing of na­tional high­ways. “Our fi­nan­cial con­di­tion never weak­ened me and tak­ing up taxi driv­ing has only added to my per­son­al­ity and made me bolder and braver,” she said.

FACED RE­SIS­TANCE FROM REL­A­TIVES

Rav­ina has a firm will power and did not give in to so­cial pres­sures to take up the job. She faced re­sis­tance from lo­cals and rel­a­tives. “Peo­ple said many things when my fa­ther taught me how to drive. There was never a thought that it would be­come a source of our liveli­hood,” she said.

“Peo­ple still taunt us but who cares! I have a fam­ily to look af­ter and my dreams to ful­fil. I don’t find any­thing wrong in be­ing a taxi driver,” Rav­ina told HT, adding, “Peo­ple’s com­ments won’t help my fam­ily earn a liv­ing.”

She fur­ther said, “My mother sup­ports me in this de­ci­sion even though many peo­ple tried to in­flu­ence her against al­low­ing me to drive a cab.” Her mother, Shanta Devi said, “I sup­port my daugh­ter’s de­ci­sion. She learnt driv­ing from her fa­ther. I am happy and will al­ways stand by her dream.”

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